With much of the country gripped by a wintry blast it was reassuring to find Kent and the port of Dover still open for business. We were there to join P&O Ferries’ Spirit of France for her maiden voyage, or inaugural sailing with fare-paying passengers, to be more precise. For the record, the cross-Channel debutante departed Dover at 1205 on 9 February.
The new Spirit class ships share a unique hull form designed to reduce drag in the shallow waters of the Dover Strait. They are also the first passenger ferries to comply with the IMOs latest Safe Return to Port requirements that demand new standards of propulsion, steering and machinery redundancy.